A quick and easy recipe for filmmaking

No pictures this time. Just words. 

I feel like a good majority of the time that I post anything on my blog it’s mainly going to be 20/20 hindsight. To be fair though, I did get this just through my second day of working on this show.

Now I’m not going to go do a bullet point list of everything that went wrong whilst working on this. But I am going to give just a warning for those of you who want to go into filmmaking.


Anyone who tells you otherwise, is either lucky, or an idiot. If there’s one thing I learned from working in production there’s five steps in the filmmaking process:

  1. Pre Production
  2. Prep
  3. Production
  4. Wrap
  5. Post Production

Those are probably going to go against what you learned in school. But if you work in production (the department I mean) then you know what these steps entail.

Now most of you may think that Pre Production and Prep should go hand in hand, when in reality they go one right after the other. In prepro you need to make sure you have the funding and schedule locked down. No exceptions. Except for the schedule, because that can always change. Funding, however, can not. This is where the line producer will come in. They will prepare a prelim budget to run with the producers and the producers will then try to see if they can cut anything or make the budget work and try to get the money. If you’re reading this and suddenly have the idea that this is the post where you will learn where to get funding, I hate to break it to you. But this isn’t that kind of post. Think of this as more of a recipe for filmmaking.

So important things that need to be locked down in pre production:

  • Funding
  • Schedule

Once you’ve locked down those two things then you can go into prep. Now this stage is just simple execution of your (or the line producer’s) budget. This is where you make sure you button up EVERYTHING. I do not know how else I can stress the importance of this stage. In prep you lock down the following:

  • Talent
  • Crew (incl. post production – but can be locked down during shoot)
  • Scheduling
  • Department needs
  • Locations

Like I said, this is where you button up EVERYTHING. Now this stage can take from as little as two weeks to two months. Preferably, two months just because of talent and locations.

Once you feel comfortable enough that prep is all good and ready to go (even if you’re not because your shoot days will not move because you do not feel comfortable enough) you will then move on to the production stage. Some departments may think that production is probably one of the hardest stages in filmmaking. Which don’t get me wrong each department has their own challenges and I understand why production is challenging. But for Production, this is the easiest. Why? Because, like prep, it’s all about execution, execution, and execution. To be honest, once you pass prep it’s all a breeze from there. Production and wrap are the easiest stages.  The main thing to keep in mind if you work production is that during this stage, you need to always make sure your crew is happy. An unhappy crew means an unhappy shoot. But you should do that with everyone not just crew, but it’s important to remember that they are the ones who put in man power to help make the film what it is.

Now once you’re done with shooting, it’s important (if you’re not doing payroll) to take a breather before going into wrap. Take a few days, a week even, either way take as much time as you need depending on how intense the shoot was before going into wrap. Why is this important? Because you’ll be drowning in paperwork. And you deserve to take a breather, if anything, you deserve to refresh yourself after x amount of 12-14hour days. This is the stage where you make sure all of your accounting is updated and ready to hand off to the accountant. This is where you close all your vendor accounts. Make sure your logs are up to date. And, if you’re like me, make sure everything can be found both digitally and physically in a wrap binder. Wrap should never take any longer than a month – but again this is also depending on how big of a show you were running.

Well, I guess this is the most wisdom I can bestow upon you for now. Please feel free to like, share, comment any other pearls of wisdom you may have about filmmaking here. Or if you have any soecific questions about it (because I know I only really spoke about it vaguely) feel free to comment or contact me via the contact page and I’ll answer them as fast as I can! Now go out there and shoot (film) something!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s